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tv   [untitled]    May 8, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT

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has very broad bicameraal. and i strongly -- very important and very positive in terms of maritime commerce and that infrastructure, we don't fund dredging enough for maritime commerce. we allow that so-called trust fund to be stolen from and we really need to stop that. thank you, madam chair. >> representative johnson. five minutes. >> thank you, very much. chairman boxer and chairman micah for calling this meeting. i look forward to working with both of you and the rest of our colleagues on this deal that will get more americans back to work and help literally build up our continuing, struggling economy.
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despite the budget tear situation we find ourselves, it is not the time to delay investments in our transportation infrastructure. such a delay will only further burden our economy. narcotic the poor condition of our highways, bridges and transport systems is already expected to cost american households and businesses more than a million dollars by 2020. the dallas ft. worth region which i represent is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. last year the average dallas commuter spent 45 hours stuck the traffic, wasting 22 gallons of fuel and an estimated $924. dallas's truck congestion is the sixth worst in the nation, costing the trucking industry
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over $22 billion in 2010. the growth requires an expansion in infrastructure and transit services. but over a third of the budget is dead kayed to just maintaining and -- unfortunately the transportation challenge is being faced by the dallas region are not uncommon. we can and should do more to improve the transportation infrastructure. as ranking member of the science -- the long-term viability of our trapgs sec -- technologies and materials that will make our transportation infrastructure safer, stronger and more sustainable. because of that, one of my priorities is to ensure that the department of transportation's research and development programs have the resources they need. i also want to make sure that
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the department's research programs are effective, well coordinateded and prioritized. we cannot deny that our current transportation system places an enormous burden on the environment. we need to be doing more to minimize the impact of surface transportation on the environment and public health and to do this, we need to be investing resources and cutting edge research that will lead to environmental and sustainable infrastructure and construction technologies. we have both a vibrant transportation sector and a healthy environment. a robust environment research program in the department of transportation will help us get there. additionally at a time when our trmgs system is challenged by aging infrastructure, ze kleining revenues and increased usage, is more important than ever. i want to ensure that federal state and local transportation officials have the data that
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they need to effectively and efficiently prioritize their policy and investment decisions. and finally, i want to conclude my commenting on the gulf coast restore ration provisions under consideration in the conference. whether or not you live or represent the coastal communities of texas, alabama, louisiana or florida, the gulf of mexico provides a wealth of products and services to our nation. it is important that this bill provide the frame work and guidance necessary to allow us to begin to really understand and more importantly mitigate the impacts of the deep water horizon oil spill on this unique ecosystem and our economy. it is my hope that we can work in a bye partisan manner on a bill that would provide our state's department of transportation, real and transit
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authorities with the ability -- there is no democrat or republican bridge, there are no democrat or republican roads. this bill is far too important to the american people and our economy for us not to come together and send the bill to the president's desk. thank you, and i yield back. >> thank you, very much. so now we're at the three-minute mark here, for everybody, house, senate and house and we are going to -- the next one on my list is chuck schumer, he's not here, so we will go to representative young. >> i think this is a plot, madam chairman, mr. hall and i have
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the same problem. maybe it's our gray hair. madam chairman and chairman mike karks thank you and thank you for this conference. 30 mine is going to be very shomplt i really hope the senate will look at the reforms to try to expedite this process. the last time we wrote this bill we put in a provision to try to expedite it. we're still faced with about 15 years delay from when a road is to be built by the time it's started and finished. and that's a tremendous waste of money. look at these reforms that i'll send over to you. senator derbin, thank you for recognizing me. i was chairman last time with mr. backus. and we passed a good bill and you're right about the 500 -- it does work. this is very hard to go up that hill and i complement the
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chairman on this, not understanding, unless you got your fingers involved in making the soup, not many people will drink it. and this is very important. because what we have done is try to pass a bill that no one has any interest in. and transportation is a subject that everyone should have an interest in. bipartisan. trying to improve our ability to transport goods and receive goods to prove manufactured products to the ports to be able to ship them out. and we're neglecting our duty right now if we don't establish a good transportation bill. this is what i'm going to be working on with the schachairmad aisle be working on the senate side. >> thank you, madam chairman, i'm pleased on the here and be
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part of this conference committee, i want to thank you for your leadership as well as congressman mike karks i look forward to working with you on this important endeavor. i believe this is a good bill and i strongly support it. at in point, hopefully it will in the future, but since it didn't, i think this two-year bill is a good bill. it's paid for and i support it. and we will work marred with everyone on this conference committee to see that we get it passed. two provisions in the bill i believe are very important. first is the keystone xl pipeline and then also the provision that would provide for recycling coal ash which is currently done, but provide the certainty that's needed to
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continue to do that. both of these provisions are very important and they are integral to a highway bill. first off, both enjoy a strong bipartisan support. 293 votes in the house including 69 democrats. 293 votes in the house. in the senate, 56 votes on keystone, we were missing two of our members both of whom support keystone, that's 58. a clear majority in the senate. but it's not just that they're bipartisan, we need to include them on the merits. any and all concerns that have been raised in regard to the keystone xl pipeline have been addressed. it has been almost four years in the permitting process. the project will create thousands of jobs, it will help reduce our energy dependence on oil from the middle east and it
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will help us reduce the price of gasoline at the pump which have doubled over the last three years and every single american consumer suffers from those high gas prices and certainly our economy suffers from them as well. the u.s. chamber of commerce supports the provision and so does labor. for example, on may 4, the afl-cio president says, i think we're all unanimous on whether we should build the pipeline. it simple seems like it makes sense to me. four years is long enough. let's go ahead. this is an integral part. in my state alone, it takes 500 trucks a day off the road. and 500 trucks a day that are beating up our roads and creating real safety issues for our people. north dakota may pass up alaska next year in oil production, but
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we can't get that oil to our refineries if we don't have the pipelines to do it. recycling coal ash is the same thing. we need to prove these provisions forward for the best highway bill possible. thank you, madam chairman. >> three minutes. >> thank you, madam chair, don isn't incompetent, that mike doesn't work. senator inhoff mentioned the cost of the extension in one way. i'll mention the cost of extension in another. we have seven states reporting that they will forego 60,000 jobs this construction season because of the temporary nature of the extension. they simply can't plan beyond that for federal funds. so if we can successfully conclude this conference, quickly, then we can look
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forward to not only restoring jobs in those seven states, i'm certain the numbers, if added up for all the states would be at least 100,000 jobs foregone. they aren't just construction jobs, remember, with bye america provisions, the steal, it's manufacturin manufacturing--these are some very sophisticated jobs, not only in construction which is devastated, but in manufacturing in other areas, so i have some sense of urgency about passing this legislation, the legislation as reported by the senate also has funding for secure rural schools which is critical, in my part of the world and critical across the united states for many counties and states that have significant federal land oholdings and the harbor maintenance trust fund, i have advocated for years that we should spend the moneys collected for harbor maintenance on harbor maintenance and
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improvement activities for vessels. but we need to modify that provision if the senate will agree to it to make certain that we don't just supplant federal funding for the corps of engineers. they have a $40 billion backlog of contriburitical projects whi both to navigation and flood control. there are a lot of jobs on the table, we have a responsibility to act expeditiously, put aside our differences. transportation has always been bipartisan, has always been a high national priority starting with george washington, abraham lincoln when it comes to transit. >> i want to say some of you are sending me notes that you have to leave and you would like your statement in the record. unless there's another idea,
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we'll keep open the record until 10:00 a.m. for your statement, in case you have to leave. i'm going to sit here through every statement and i'm finding it really very helpful. and with that objection, we will keep the report open until 10:00 a.m. for full statements. we're going to now move to senator bill nelson for three minutes. >> madam chairman, our people are hurting on the gulf. and i think it's indicative that in the senate bill, it was sponsored by seven republicans and two democrats and then when we passed the bill, what is a near miracle in the senate, the vote with 76 to 22. and you wonder how since there are only five gulf states, how did you get the interest of the senators from 45 other states? and it was the very small but an
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important part, the land and water conservation fund, which is very popular even amonging a a churl interests. all of this cobbled together, allowed us then to have part of the bp fine money, and this could be substantial money, anywhere from what is estimated maybe five billion, all the way up to $20 billion. 20% of that money goes in to the oil spill liability trust fund and/or the treasury, and the 80% is doled out according to a formula that all of these republicans and democrats came up with. and then was embraced by 76 senators.
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and so i commend it to you who are not familiar with the gulf of mexico, you have already heard the words of senator shelby and senator vitter. and that's all i want to say, madam chairman. thank you. >> thank you, senator. so the next on the list is representative john duncan. put your mike on, sir. >> i want to commend you and chairman micah and all the members of the house and senate who are here today who have worked so hard to get to us this point. i look forward to working with everyone to iron out our differences and send the bill to the president's desk as soon as possible. this is certainly the most important jobs bill that this congress will deal with because
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these are jobs that will be done here not in china or afghanistan or elsewhere. over the course of this conference, we will be dealing with a large number of policy issues that affects all of our nation's surface transportation system. one that we emphasized in hr 7 in the house is streamlining the project delivery process. we have given lip service to that goal for many years but we haven't accomplished much at all. too much government bureaucracy and red tapes -- increasing construction costs out of site. according to the federal highway administration, the project delivery process can take up to 15 years from planning through construction. this is simply unacceptable. another analysis conducted by the national transportation policy and review commission, founded a $500 billion project that took 14 years to complete
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would see its costs double. costs sometimes have tripled due to these delays. i hope that this conference committee will be able to agree on real reforms to streamline the project delivery process. i believe that the conference report produced by this committee must set address deadlines for -- highway and transit projects. many other developed nations are doing -- these reforms must delegate more project approval to more states and allow more environmental laws in place of federal laws where it makes sense to do so. also we must simplify -- if we can agree to these common sense changes, i'm confident we can improve the time it takes to
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complete a project -- in a more timely fashion. and as the saying goes, we can do much more with less. i thank you, chairwoman boxer and chairman micah and i yield back the balance of my time. >> senator menendez is not here. representative costello is not here, and is representative whitfield here? yes, welcome and three minutes. >> thank you. madam chair, thank you very much, we appreciate the opportunity to be here at this
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conference. i might say, i think all of us are very much aware that the american people today do not have a very high regard for congress as an institution. for congress as an institution. we see approval ratings of 12%, 13% or 14%. and we have an opportunity with this legislation to show that the senate and house can come together and pass needed legislation to meet the many infrastructure need of our great country. we all are very much aware that the senate has passed this legislation overwhelmingly with 76 votes. we're all very much aware that the house has shown overwhelmingly that it does support keystone, the coal ash language, and we also would like to see additional reforms, of course, on the highway bill.
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i, for one, think we can be successful in this conference. but i think the american people would be significantly disappointed if this fell apart because of something like keystone and coal ash, particularly when in the final environmental impact statement out of the department of state, after studying it for over four years, they said that between the option of not building the pipeline or building the pipeline, the preference would be to build the pipeline. and there's been some discussion today about how long this route is, it's 1700 miles. the only portion that was changed was about 60 miles within the state of nebraska. and the governor of nebraska, the legislature of nebraska support this pipeline. and on coal ash i would just say past democratic administrations and republican administrations have never treated coal ash as a
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hazardous material. and so, i would just say, i think it would being a great disappointment once again if this fell apart because of two pieces of legislation that the majority of people in america support and support it very strongly. and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. delegate eleanor holmes norton. >> hello, hello, hello. >> there you are. >> we begin by sharing. good omen. senator boxer, representative mika, first i want to thank senator boxer and senator? inhofe for not only getting a bill done in a very difficult congress, but for the example you have set for each and every
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one of us around this table. traditionally this is the most bipartisan, the most popular, and the least difficult bill to get through both houses. and there's a good reason for this. this bill meets our obligation to perhaps the most parts of our economy. not only on its own terms, but because this bill feeds so many other parts of the u.s. economy. now, senator boxer, i have a very long list of my most favorite and my least favorite parts of your bill, for example. but i'm not going to devote my few minutes to detailing my druthers. and i'm not going to speak to them. i'm going to practice what i've been preaching.
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especially when i say we simply must get a bill out of this conference committee. this is likely to be the only jobs bill in the 112th congress that most americans would recognize as such. the bill already incorporate as ton of compromises, get ready for it. there are going have to be more compromises for the sake of jobs, for the sake of the economy and, yes, i dare say, for the sake of the people we represent. let's do the job that was assigned to this conference committee and get the job done and i yield back the balance of my time and thank you, senator, boxer. >> thank you so much. we're going to go senator menendez. please. >> thank you, madam chair and to
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all distinguished members of the conference. you know, we need to pass this bill quickly in order to generate and protect two to three million jobs. we need to pass this bill quickly to boost our economy in the short term and protect an essential asset for every business in america in the longer term. and from my perspective we also need a bill that will protect dedicated transit funding. by way of example, this is true for hundreds of millions of people across the country but new jersey transit hosts 250 million passenger trips each year and therefore it's essential to my state's economy but also true for many states throughout the country and we worked hard, i worked hard with senators johnson and shelby to develop a robust transit title. and that passed unanimously out of the banking committee and we'll work from text that in this conference. but we all know that the senate transportation bill by virtue of what happened both in committees and on the floor supported by
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senate democrats, senate republicans, and house democrats, largely speaking so the only question is whether our house republican colleagues will also work in a constructive way to pass a bill. after years of work, we are on the cusp of giving our states, our businesses and our workers the certainty they need to make infrastructure investments. and that certainty is critical in terms of unlocking the type of investments over the longer term that will create greater results. if we do not pass a bill we risk bankrupting the trust fund and seeing transportation funding coming to a screeching halt. given these high stakes i would think no one in this room should be willing to put politics before the retention and creation of two to three million jobs. put politics before needs of our business community. and put politics ahead of efforts to revitalize our economy. mother, it's time to start negotiating from the senate bill
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that had bipartisan support and has a total element of all of these titles in good faith. i hope that means keeping divisive environmental issues off of this bill and that's what we did in the senate to gate widely bipartisan bill through the chamber and that's a model taos how we move forward. the question is do we work in a bipartisan manner and pass a transportation bill as we did in the senate or do we simply try to shift blame for the bill's failure. i hope we can make the right decision to help america grow, get people back to work and lay the foundation for long term growth. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you so much. we'll hear from representative kapiteau. >> thank you for this important meeting and i'm very pleased and honor to be on this conference committee. it's my hope we can work together to craft a long term
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re-authorization which puts people back network and allows our local governments to fund important projects and move forward on them. we've asked states to go with short term extensions that resulted in stalled project, cancellation of many new projects. every time i speak with transportation professionals they emphasize long term solutions. i believe we can produce a bill which will put people back to work, reform programs which have gotten too large. in our state of west virginia we have three west virginiians on this committee, we have a tremendous need as all of us do for bridge repair and road construction but our state while one of the most bul states our terrain drive up the costs to build and maintain our roads. last year we had a listening session in charleston, west virginia with the house chair and ranking member. the overall sentiment of those in the room that day is washington slows the process,
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environmental reviews and bureaucratic policies ties the hands of our states and delay construction. time is money. simple change like reviewing projects concurrently rather than consecutively can save states money. granting states a categoric exemption on existing right-of-way can allow states to add new lanes of highway without having to go through environmental review process for a highway in which they've already performed one and engage states to enter private-public partnerships. classifying coal ash as a hazardous material will increase our costs. the reason the highway bill is so important and the reason we're all here is jobs. the surface transportation program is a jobs bill. companies will hire in every single state. the keystone pipeline means


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